A reflection by Killian Noe
Communities across America are struggling with the growing and catastrophic impact of the opioid addiction epidemic. Take Dayton, Ohio, for example, a city in a state where in 2016 alone, drug overdoses claimed the lives of over 4,000 Ohioans; and more recently, fentanyl flooded the community causing over 200 accidental ingestions and intoxications in Dayton’s children’s hospital. Other communities in West Virginia and South Bronx, New York experience addiction’s most crippling ripple effects with the highest overdose rates in the country. Nearly two months have passed since the White House recognized the opioid epidemic as a national state of emergency, and tragically, no action has been taken. In these communities’ most trying times, there is a need for hope, compassion and a commitment to long-term recovery for those suffering from addiction and other mental health challenges.
At the end of last week, we witnessed the beginning stages of what hope can do for a community with the launch of two new Recovery Café locations. The Recovery Café Network began its second learning cohort, welcoming groups working to open Recovery Cafés in Dayton, Ohio and another Café in Clark County, Washington. In the two-day launch, the cohort members came to Seattle to be trained in the Recovery Café’s peer-based support model. The cohort members learned how to conduct loving accountability groups called Recovery Circles, provide evidence informed classes on topics including relapse prevention, create a welcoming and healing environment, and raise necessary resources. This training laid the foundation that we will build on together over the next two years.
One of our advocates, Enid Osborne, Public Health Adviser of SAMHSA once said, “Love is underneath everything that happens at Recovery Cafe.”
That transforming, healing love is manifested in the Recovery Cafés operating in San Jose, Calif; Seattle, Spokane, Everett, Tacoma and Vancouver, Washington. Our deep desire is that the same transforming, healing love will be “underneath everything that happens” in every Recovery Café that opens; that all those suffering from addiction and other mental health challenges throughout our nation will come to know they are valued and loved.